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Paper Boat’s Aamras and Jaljeera drinks are hard to miss in the Tetra Pak jungle of juices and other fruit-based beverages at your local grocery mart. Designed to appeal to your most buried hipster tendencies, just the mere packaging of these drinks makes you want to give them a try, at least once. 

It’s not really paper, dummy!

Before we get into how these drinks taste, let’s talk about the packaging. Now you may think the Paper Boat packaging is fresh and inventive, but it’s exactly the same as that of Tzinga, a lemon-flavoured energy drink manufactured by the same parent company – Hector Beverages Pvt. Ltd. However, while the visual impact of Tzinga shouts out ‘cheap’ and ‘desi’ in comparison to its competitor Red Bull, Hector gets it right with Paper Boat. Also the tightly sealed cap and plastic doypack ensures zero spillage and tear, cleverly belying its delicate, paperish look.

The branding on the packs and over social media (here’s their Facebook page) is all about conjuring up memories of childhood and simpler times. There’s some good copy and some not-so-good, but the message is driven home.

Ever wondered how memories would taste?

Okay, that sounds weird. But the reason why we are stressing so much on how Paper Boat packages and brands its drinks is because for once, the marketing angle actually goes with the contents inside. The minimalist artsy doodles and a nostalgia-inducing tagline – ‘drinks and memories’ – creates a positive anticipation of the flavours. And for the most part, Paper Boat gets it right.

Aamras: Sipping these drinks from their packs may be what the manufacturer intended, but we wanted to pour them out and see how they looked. The Aamras drink has a wonderfully thick consistency and a nice natural colour. Take that first sip and you believe Paper Boat’s claim of ‘No colours. No preservatives. No artificial flavours. Basically none of that junk.’ on the pack (okay okay, you’re a counterculture drink, we get it!). 

But then, unfortunately, your taste-buds catch up with that slightly artificial aftertaste, most likely because of the ‘added flavours’ that are explained on the pack as ‘nature-identical flavouring substances’ and is very reminiscent of Maaza. Wait, so is it natural or not?

Nonetheless, Paper Boat’s Aamras is a lesson to other mango-based and mango-flavoured drinks that if you don’t go overboard with the sugar, you may just manage to retain actual mango flavours. Crazy, right? 

Jaljeera: Definitely, the better of the two in terms of taste and not artificial tasting at all. Pour it into a glass and you realize the light muddy colour of this drink is helped considerably by the non-transparent pack. But take a sip and you will be pleasantly surprised by how fresh this drink tastes. It is far sweeter than your average jaljeera but the cumin and pepper tones shine through (and the granules settle pleasingly at the base of your glass). Some of us at Real Reviews thought the body and flavor was more panna than jaljeera, but our final verdict is that we’re gonna be stocking these in our refrigerator at the office.

Pros: Sturdy packaging, close-to-authentic flavours

Cons: Not completely natural tasting, slightly tedious copy and branding

Product: Paper Boat Aamras and Jaljeera

Price: Rs. 25

Weight: 250 ml

4 Responses

  1. Sid

    Hi….good review of both the branding/packaging and the product. You are right to say that the flavours are not very natural…which is because they are using ‘nature-identical flavours’ and not ‘natural flavours’, which are much more expensive to use. Nature identical flavours are not derived from the named fruit but from chemicals which replicate the chemicals present in the fruit. So technically, these products are not 100% natural.

  2. Uttarika Kumaran

    Hi Sid,

    Thanks for the clarification. So if nature-identical flavours are essentially chemicals, can the brand really claim to have ‘No artificial flavours’? I wouldn’t write off the drinks completely – they were a nice change from the usual sugar-heavy bevarages – but still seems a bit misleading.

  3. viniyata

    I am not sure how the product tastes, but as a a designer I disagree with you on the packaging. I think the packaging is weak. All the different flavours have the same illustration in different colours. I feel it lacks dynamism. The illustration, the play of colour and form feels too strong/sharp to induce nostalgia. And overall, the visual elements seem disconnected.

  4. Uttarika Kumaran

    Hi Viniyata,

    Thanks for the design perspective. I guess as an ordinary consumer, I’d notice the packaging simply because it visually stands out from its competitors. It would make me want to pick it up. And that’s the first hurdle crossed for the product.

    Would be nice to hear more from you on packaging design and how much it can influence a buyer. Do keep commenting! 🙂